Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A-Z Challenge: U is for Umibozu

Today we're on to the letter U with the AtoZ Challenge. My Under the Sea Myths & Legends theme today features a really creepy sea monster from Japan called...


In Japan's folklore, the Umiboza legend is also known as the Sea Monk or Buddhist Monk because of his round head. There are many different accounts of what this creature looks like, but the description that's mentioned most is a gigantic blackened beast with two large eyes and oversized bald head, This legend has been around for centuries. The Umiboza rumors started originally from sightings which then spawned into creative tales about the mysterious creature. According to sources, one mention of the Umibozu can be found "in a collection of writings called Kanso Jigo" from the "Kansei era (1789 – 1801)."

These same sources reference that the Japanese historically feared the ocean and due to that fear, some myths like the Umibozu were created. This particular beast could appear in calm waters to ships. If the sailors saw the beast and tried to speak it, it would enrage the creature and cause certain demise to the ship and everyone on it. Umibozu were so terrifying they could "rise ten feet tall and break ships in two." Yikes! From the looks of this legend, it'd be hard to ignore the creature.

Now you may wonder if this sea myth is real or not? Well, as of 1971, one Mainichi Shinbun newspaper reported that a fishing boat near New Zealand caught a creature tangled in the fishing lines with a similar appearance to the sea monk. The Captain and crew believed the creature to be some sort of monster.  Freaky, huh? Even Japan sent an oceanography team to investigate. If you're interested in learning more about this creature and others Japanese folklore, ghost stories and myths, visit this amazing blog, Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai.

Tomorrow it will be the letter V! Until then, see you later!

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